PITTSBURGH — After three absences on the opening day of the team’s 2023 minicamp, the Pittsburgh Steelers played with a full 90-man squad on Wednesday, head coach Mike Tomlin said after practice.
Punter Pressley Harvin III, reserve offensive lineman Ryan McCollum and outside linebacker T.J. Watt all were excused absences for the first day of the three-day session, Tomlin had said on Tuesday.
But despite full attendance on Wednesday, Tomlin didn’t always put all of his players in every position. When it comes to veterans like Cam Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Patrick Peterson or Watt, them not playing — and opening up and opportunity for a younger player — is probably more impactful for the team than if they do play.
“Sometimes, this time of year, there’s things that come up and we’re afforded the opportunity to kind of take care of people and their individual needs,” Tomlin said. “More important than that, when people miss work, it’s opportunities for others to elevate in the groups in the which they work, the number of reps they get.
“We’ve got some veteran players here, whether they’re here or not, I minimize them in environments like this. Every rep that Pat Peterson doesn’t take is an opportunity for Joey [Porter Jr.] and Cory [Trice] to get better, for example. So that’s our mentality.”
The Steelers will wrap up their three-day minicamp session at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side on Thursday and then have five weeks off before returning to the practice fields at St. Vincent College for training camp on July 26.
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